Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Flemish Revolt, Part 1

About 60 years before the Peasants' Revolt in England over a poll tax, the lower classes of the Low Countries revolted against taxes.

Robert III, aka The Lion of Flanders, was the Count of Flanders. When he died sin 1322, he left behind a muddle: his son and heir, Louis I the Count of Nevers, had died two months previous, and the next in line was Robert's grandson, Louis. Louis at the age of about 18 became the Count of Nevers and Flanders. A couple years earlier, in 1320, Louis had married Margaret, the daughter of King Philip V of France.

This marriage made him a Francophile, while Robert III and his father had been anti-French. There was another big issue connected with Louis' reign, and that was taxation. Not that there wasn't a reason:

Louis' grandfather, Robert III, had signed a treaty with King Philip IV of France to conclude the Franco-Flemish War (1297-1305). The war started because, although Flanders had acted independently, it was technically a part of France since the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Philip IV decided to bring Flanders and its wealthy cities under stricter French control. We may discuss the war some other time; for now, suffice it to say that the Flemish forces were defeated.

The terms of the Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge were onerous, to say the least. Certain cities (Lille, Douai, Orchies) would fall under French rule, and fortresses protecting large cities in Flanders needed to be torn down. Expensive monetary re[arations were to be paid to France, and an annual sum. The Count of Flanders would hold Flanders as a fiefdom of France. Flanders was required to send 600 knights for there French army

...and this is where we get back to Louis, raising taxes to pay back his father-in-law and fulfill the terms of the treaty; but I feel I've already taken enough of your time for one day, so I'll finish this tomorrow.

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